University of Minnesota
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Giving to medicine and health at the University of Minnesota

September 2009 Archives

Longtime supporters of diabetes research at the University, Kathy and Tom Goswitz recently named the Schulze Diabetes Institute in their will. (Photo courtesy of Tom and Kathy Goswitz)

Kathy Goswitz, now 62, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19. Her sunny disposition masks decades of struggles with numerous complications of the disease, including hypoglycemia unawareness, a kidney transplant, toe amputation, and other ailments.

Fortunately, diabetes management has improved dramatically since she was diagnosed, Kathy says. "You can live a fulfilling and happy life [with diabetes]."

Meri Firpo, Ph.D.

Promising cure-focused research launched by diabetes and stem cell researcher Meri Firpo, Ph.D., is giving hope to millions of people with type 1 diabetes by bringing scientists closer to finding a cure.

Firpo, an assistant professor in the Stem Cell Institute and the Schulze Diabetes Institute at the University of Minnesota, is taking skin cells voluntarily donated by diabetic patients, culturing the cells in the lab, wiping them clean and turning them back into blank stem cells, and then reprogramming them into insulin-producing islet cells. Her goal is to use these newly created cells to replace the pancreatic cells destroyed in people with type 1 diabetes.

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